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Top 10 Least Reliable Car Brands for 2020

To go with the list of most reliable automotive brands, there will always be a list of the least reliable. Until, that is, all of the brands merge into one single automotive monolith. But since that's not likely to ever occur, brands will keep getting ranked. Some will score high, some low. This list is based on the Consumer Reports 2020 vehicle reliability survey, where the consumer products reviewing group received 420,000 responses from its members reporting issues in 17 groups on vehicles from model years 2000 to 2019.

Based on those responses, CR looks at the issues, the frequencies, and when vehicles were last redesigned to predict how reliable they think this year's model will be. Brands that don't have enough data in the survey to be relevant are excluded, so Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Ram, and Smart weren't ranked. Here's the bottom of the list.


Mercedes-Benz is first on this list, meaning it was the best scoring of the bottom 10, and with a score of 42, it's nearly double the score of the bottom of the list. At 21st overall, it's dropped a spot from last year. Despite that position, CR gave most of its models an average score for reliability. The GLA crossover was the top rated, but the flagship S-Class sedan received a well below average score due to reported issues with the suspension, body, power equipment (accessories like cruise control) and in-car electronics (items like the infotainment system).


Truck and crossover brand GMC was up two spots overall from last year, but still finishes in the bottom 10, two points behind Mercedes-Benz. Its crossovers and SUVs all had average or better reliability scores, with the Yukon, a model largely unchanged for several years, the most reliable. The new Sierra showed issues with the display screens, backup cams, and driveline vibrations, and the GMC Canyon (along with its Chevy Colorado sibling) was ranked as the least reliable vehicle overall.


Tesla has had an up and down experience in the Consumer Reports study. This year, reliability of the Model S and Model 3 has increased enough to put the sedans back on the CR recommended list, with fewer issues reported, but the Model X still brings down the brand with noises, leaks, and issues with the falcon-wing doors, CR says. All models still have reported issues with the in-car displays, though these aren't ranked as highly as, say, driveline issues. the brand overall is up four spots and scores a 39.


Vehicles from Volvo remain big on design, but the study suggests they're not so hot for reliability. 24th overall is up one spot from last year, but the score of 38 points is still a poor showing. Volvo's most reliable model was the XC40, which scored above average, and the XC60 crossover also was ranked average for reliability. Issues with in-car electronics in the XC90 and S90, along with premature brake wear and emissions/fuel systems issues in the XC90, gave both of those models a below average ranking.


Chevrolet was down three spots this year, putting it at 25th overall. The Tahoe was Chevy's best scoring model, like GMC's Yukon, which shares most components. The Bolt EV, Impala, Equinox, and Suburban were all also ranked average or better. The Camaro and Traverse were rated below average, the Silverado had problems with screens and driveline like the Sierra, and the Colorado compact pickup was ranked worst vehicle overall.


Off-road brand Jeep was 26th overall on the list, down three spots from last year, with that ranking anchored by the Wrangler, redesigned for last year. CR ranked it well below average, with issues with the steering and in-car electronics systems. The Grand Cherokee was the brand's top scoring model, it and the Compass were both ranked average. The Cherokee and Renegade received a ranking of below average.


One of two brands to slide nine spots from last year's survey, VW was 27th overall this year. The data showed that the Atlas and Tiguan both had much-worse-than average reliability, reporting issues with power equipment, in-car electronics, and the emissions/fuel systems. The new-for-2019 Jetta had below average reliability with reported transmission problems. The Golf and GTI were ranked average, with the GTI the highest scoring.


Just three Acura models saw enough data for a ranking, but the result was not a good one. Like VW, the brand fell nine spots from last year and is now third from the bottom. Both the RDX and MDX scored well below average for reliability, with CR citing issues with the transmission, drive system, and in-car electronics for the MDX and the brakes and in-car electronics for the RDX. The TLX sedan was ranked as average.

Alfa Romeo

Without enough data for Alfa Romeo vehicles last year, there's no up or down for 2020, but there's more room to go up than down for next year, sitting second from the bottom with a score of 27. Alfa's top model was the Stelvio crossover, which was rated average for reliability. The Giulia sedan was rated much-worse-than average with issues with the in-car electronics and power equipment.


And then there was one. Cadillac had three vehicles with enough reported data, and CR said all three were scored below average. Lowest was the new XT4, with a lowest score for in-car electronics. Other ranked models saw issues with in-car electronics and the drive system, CR said.